- Protect our land and water from mining.
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- People before profits
- Improved heath and education services.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Dozers back and govt turns a blind eye to illegal clearing

The NSW Government must act on illegal vegetation clearing today, not sometime 'before Christmas' said Greens MP and environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann.

"This government's attitude to environmental protection and slack enforcement has invited the bulldozers back," said Ms Faehrmann.

"The broadscale vegetation clearing of the 1980s and 90s was brought under control with the NSW Native Vegetation Act 2003. Now, this government is sending signals to rogue farmers that the controls are weakening.

When Ms Faehrmann questioned Ms Sally Barnes, Chief Executive of the Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH), over the government's blind eye to illegal vegetation clearing in Estimates yesterday, she said "I would be hopeful to make a decision on any regulatory action before Christmas".

This was in relation to clearing of vegetation that is protected and koala habitat on a property that was reported at the beginning of the year and where the bull dozers were still in action last week. A stop work order was issued in February and withdrawn leaving the landholder to continue clearing unchecked.

"I have been made aware of numerous properties where OEH has been notified of illegal vegetation clearing around Gwydir and Moree. Clearly, some landholders are under the impression that they can get away with it," said Ms Faehrmann.

"This is grossly unfair to the majority of responsible farmers that are doing the right thing and complying with native vegetation laws.

"I am calling on the Minister today to instruct OEH to issue stop work orders immediately for all incidents of illegal vegetation clearing currently under investigation.

"It is unacceptable for the department to take months to work out if vegetation clearing is illegal or not and for protected vegetation and koala habitat to be bulldozed with impunity in the meantime," said Ms Faehrmann.

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